Friday, February 16, 2018

Redlining in Modern America


Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal black homeowners were discriminated against by redlining maps. These maps identified areas with significant black populations as risky for mortgage support. Black homeowners living in these areas were more unlikely to be successful when trying to refinance home mortgages using the government sponsored Home Owners' Loan Corporation.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 banned racial discrimination in lending. However new research from Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting shows that people of color still face discrimination when applying for property loans, particularly in a number of Southern cities. The year long analysis discovered that in 61 metro areas redlining is still effectively in place.

An interactive map in Reveal's For People of Color, Banks are Shutting the Door to Home Ownership identifies the locations of these 61 metro areas. If you click on any of the identified metro areas on the map you can discover what evidence Reveal discovered of discrimination in the area, including how much more likely black, Asian, Latino or Native American applicants were to be denied home loans than white applicants.


Another interactive map from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition allows you to explore how the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) redlining maps are affecting cities today. The interactive map allows you to compare modern data about income status and the minority population with the HOLC's historical redlining security ratings.

Using the maps you can see if neighborhoods in your city with 'good' HOLC redlining ratings have remained largely white and wealthy or whether your city has become a beacon of social and racial equality.


You can view the original redlining maps on the University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab website. The Home Owners' Loan Corporation was a government-sponsored corporation created as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. Its purpose was to refinance home mortgages which were in default to prevent foreclosure.

The HOLC is often cited as starting the practice of mortgage redlining. Redlining is the process of denying services to residents of certain areas based on the racial composition of those areas. Mapping Inequality, Redlining in New Deal America allows you to view the residential security maps created by the Home Owners' Loan Corporation to indicate the level of security for real-estate investments.

The areas marked in blue on the maps are the neighborhoods which were deemed desirable for lending purposes. The yellow areas show neighborhoods deemed 'declining' areas. The red areas are the neighborhoods considered the most risky for mortgage support.

The result of these redlining maps was that residents in the more affluent and largely white neighborhoods were far more likely to receive financing. Residents in the poorer and black communities were deemed more risky and were therefore less likely to receive financial support.
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